Up here in Scandinavia we brave through long, dark, cold winters because we are so generously rewarded once summer comes along. Long days, long nights, beautiful little coastal towns coming to life, strawberries, and cold beer. The kick-off mark is midsummer. Midsummer is celebrated in most Northern European countries (with a few different characteristic twists in each country) and it is centred around the summer solstice on June 21st -the longest day of the year when the sun never sets.
In Norway, as in Denmark, we celebrate sankthansaften on June 23rd and the tradition is to light a huge bonfire. It was originally a pagan holiday and fires were lit to scare away evil spirits. Then Christianity came to Norway, traditions were mixed up, somewhere along the way witches got involved in this mess, and don’t ask me why but we still burn a witch if we can. If you don’t have one handy, you can still just light a big bonfire and say you celebrated sankthansaften.
Sankthans, I doubt any of us really know what you’re about and why we celebrate. But we love you none the less and we show up every year regardless of what the weather looks like. Thanks for yet another summer officially begun!
Every Sunday, in true Happy Camper spirit, I’ll be posting love letters 🙂 They could be about anything really, anything that made me happy at some point (and most likely still does). My intention is to shine a big, bright spotlight on the good things in life, and hopefully have a laugh every now and then in the process of doing so.